Monday, July 2, 2007

Life in a Cage: Baby Sleeps, Mom Cooks, Dad Bats

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When Amber Willits is cooking dinner — crack! — or putting the baby to bed — crack! — or trying to get a little sleep herself — crack! — she has to wonder why she ever agreed to live in a batting cage.

“I may have thought that a few times,” she acknowledged. “But I never said it.”

Baseball wives are an understanding breed. They endure 12-day trips and meals at midnight, and move their families from minor league towns like Yakima, Wash., to Pulaski, W.Va.

But Amber Willits, the wife of Angels outfielder Reggie Willits, has taken hardball devotion to a new level. For the past three years, she has made a home, raised a son and helped develop a .300 hitter — all in an indoor batting cage.

“I could not have gotten here alone,” Reggie said. “I have an extremely supportive wife.”

At this time a year ago, he was a fringe prospect who had never started a major league game. Today, he is 26, the leadoff hitter for the first-place Los Angeles Angels, batting .337 with 18 stolen bases and a shot at the American League rookie of the year award.

He credits his emergence, at least in part, to the cage he calls home. While other players travel long distances to workout centers in the off-season, Willits merely has to roll out of bed and start taking his hacks.

Source : nytimes

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